There’s a new black metal circle/label rumbling in The Netherlands underground. They call themselves the Haeresis Noviomagi--which, according to my etymological deductions, means something like “sect/heresy of a new place." After nearly missing out on Haeresis Noviomagi’s latest hex, Heilig Land ("Holy Land" in English) by Iskandr, I thought it only prudent to establish some rapport with this mysterious Dutch circle. It wasn’t long before I realized my interlocutors were up to something deserving of a wider audience. What follows is an interview with the members of Haeresis Noviomagi, an interview whose express purpose is exposure.
With whom am I speaking and what is your role in Haeresis Noviomagi?
You are speaking with all four people involved in the label. To the outside world we operate as a single entity.
Who else is involved in Haeresis Noviomagi?
Apart from the main group of four people, we have some close collaborators: M from Fluisteraars helps us out with some production technicalities and Peter Johan Nijland a.k.a Distel has consistently provided excellent mastering jobs for our releases which perfectly capture our sonic vision.
From what I understand you're all also involved in the three bands?
Lubbert Das and Turia share two members, J and O, while Lubbert Das features R on guitar and Turia features T on vocals. Iskandr is a solo product of O. Possibly we will release more music in different constellations in the future, who knows. The actual releases of the label are always a wholly collaborative effort.
What made you four decide to start doing things yourselves instead of working with pre-existing labels?
We wanted to have complete creative autonomy in every aspect of our art: the songs, the recording and mixing, the accompanying artwork as well as the physical release, the aesthetics of our label and the promotional avenues. That being said, we are working with a number of trusted pre-existing labels in releasing our music in other formats or geographical locations. Currently we are working with Fallen Empire, Amor Fati Records, Altare Productions, Dunkelheit Produktionen and Nebular Carcoma. More will follow soon.
Since the subgenre's dawning in the late 80s, black metal bands have been wont to "run in packs," e.g. Norway's Black Circle, Portugal's Black Circle, France's Les Légions Noires, L.A.'s Black Twilight Circle, etc. Is HN a group of friends with similar interests, or did you all meet because of an interest in black metal?
First of all we doubt we are as of yet comparable to these great and longstanding groups of bands. Hopefully we will be able to reach only a fragment of the productive and creative output of some of these legendary groups. As for the second question, HN arose out of friendship and trust as well as a united vision on the direction of our art.
Does Lubbert Das pre-date Haeresis Noviomagi? It seems that the first demo Keye isn't considered part of the Haeresis Noviomagi canon.
Yes, Lubbert Das existed prior to the founding of Haeresis Noviomagi. Though we do consider Keye to be a part of our legacy; the release of this tape laid the foundations of our conception for the label.
Is Galg not a part of HN?
Galg exists separately as this band has a different musical as well as aesthetic purpose. Of course O plays in both and M is also a frequent collaborator in Haeresis Noviomagi projects, but this is just as much a product of the close knit wider black metal community in the east of the Netherlands.
Will the circle ever stray from black metal territory?
Yes, we are not confined by strict genre definitions; although the artistic vision should and will always be in line with the wider vision of the label. Our next release will be a longer drone/dark ambient/noise piece by an as of yet unknown entity known as Paean.
Will you continue to be a tapes-only label?
For the foreseeable future, yes. Maybe we will try to produce vinyl in the future, as we are only interested in producing analogue formats ourselves, but there are no concrete plans. Who knows.
Why such short runs, though? Is it a cost thing?
Every release is a guess. So far the runs have been quite fitting for the actual demand, fortunately. We have a small but very dedicated audience for our releases, for whom we are very thankful. If our reach continues to grow we will do bigger runs, we are not interested in strategized limitations for marketing purposes; we just produce what we think the actual demand will be.
Which other Dutch black metal bands most inspire the works that come from Haeresis Noviomagi bands?
The bands that make up Haeresis Noviomagi consider themselves part of a wider group, or movement, of relatively new black metal bands located within the east of the Netherlands. Other bands that make up this movement are Fluisteraars, Laster, Wederganger, Galg, just to name a few; although there are lots of smaller projects and collaborations happening between members of these groups. Most of these produce a very distinct personal sound and it would be fair to state that we are united not in a singular vision but in creative plurality and personal friendships. So while the Haeresis bands are not directly influenced by the sound of one particular Dutch group, we are inspired by the creative output that all of us are putting on the map at this moment in time.
What's next for the Haeresis Noviomagi camp?
Up next are two releases: Paean - Bloemfontein, a 25 minute disturbing drone/noise piece, and Iskandr - Zon, the follow up EP to the just released Heilig Land album by Iskandr.
Apart from this there will be a North American re-run of Lubbert Das - Deluge set to be released by Fallen Empire records. And after several curses Turia - Dor will finally be unleashed on Vinyl by Altare Productions.
Thanks a lot for the interest and support to you and to the readers of this piece.
Keep your eye on Haeresis Noviomagi for those upcoming releases as it’s likely there won’t be many of them available.